I have to admit that the current election process, taking place in America, is somewhere between disgusting and embarrassing. Some people are so upset that they talk about not voting at all. Most Christians recognize their responsibility as a citizen is to vote, but I often wonder, do Christians actually understand God’s role in the outcome of an election and in the affairs of human government. Now before you stop reading and think I am going to “Christianize” the election process and suggest who you should vote for, I can assure you I am not. I would like to discuss what is meant by God’s role in the process of human government. Yes, I believe that God does control the nations and the people who rule over the people of the nations, including those who are elected to serve in local, state and national government positions. Psalm 22:28 says, “Kingship belongs to the Lord, and He rules over the nations.” Psalm 66:7 declares, “God’s eyes keep watch on the nations.” Psalm 103:19, “The Lord has established His throne in the Heavens, and His kingdom rules over all.” Daniel 4:17, “The Most High rules the kingdom of men, and gives it to whom He will and sets over it the lowliest of men.” And Job 12:23, “He makes nations great, and He destroys them. He enlarges nations and leads them away.”
Often our problem as Christians is that we somehow believe that a political candidate, because of his or her religious affiliation or their stand on a particular moral issue, are favored by God. We also compound our problem by the false expectation that the individuals we vote for are necessary, in order that God’s will can be accomplished. But I say, that is not so. God is neither intimidated or exhilarated by one candidate or another. In fact, God will accomplish His purposes and His will no matter which candidates win. If you are having trouble with the idea that God is involved with the outcome of elections listen to this verse in Romans 13:1-2. “Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.” It seems evident that it is God that gives any elected official the authority to govern, and yes, the Bible says He places them in the place of authority. Now I understand that the American political process is the process by which we elect those who receive the authority to govern, but according to God’s Word it is God alone who actually gives them the power they receive in their elected position. It is us who have problems with the results, not God. Proverbs 21:1 says, “The king’s heart is like a stream of water directed by the Lord; he guides it wherever he pleases.” God will direct every public official elected in this election, as he pleases, no matter what the office he or she is elected too. Whoever takes an oath of office will not be able to accomplish, nor prevent, a single task unless God causes or allows it. Every elected politician, whether he or she acknowledges it or not, is subject to the authority of God.
We should not be unduly upset if the candidates we support lose, nor too excited if they win. As a Christian we should accept God’s sovereign choice. Our focus should be on obeying God by promoting characteristics in our community and our nation which reflect His Word. There is no better way for us to accomplish this than by demonstrating a spirit of obedience to God in our daily lives. Differences in an election will heal more quickly if we act in a Christ like manner toward those who oppose our views, as well as those who support them. If we have an attitude of reconciliation as believers, we will worry less about which candidate was elected and worry more about serving the One who gives the authority to all those who are elected.
Christians exist in this world much as if we were traveling in a foreign country. No matter how we try to fit in, we stand out in the crowd as different. Our best hope is to follow the instructions that the apostle Paul gave the church at Philippi. Philippians 2:13-16 “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.” The Philippians were instructed to please God by living in a way that no one could criticize. In the political times we live in that could mean not placing our political point of view above our desire to influence people for Christ even if we disagree with them politically. If we are going to stand out in a crowd Paul says it should be like a shining light, not like a “sore thumb.” I’m sure that no matter what the political landscape looks like the day after the election, those who follow Christ are still going to be “strangers in a foreign land,” and if that is so, may we be great ambassadors for the land we truly represent, the Kingdom of God.
None of these Biblical truths should ever be considered a reason for a Christian not to vote. If you have not done so, I encourage each of you to vote, and then pray for all those who are elected whether you voted for them or not, because by their election they have become instruments by which the sovereign will of God will be accomplished.